While the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup series kicked off in Tabor, Czech Republic, five other UCI races were held this past weekend. Though the courses were very different, the four category 2 UCI races in the United States delivered first time UCI podiums for some of the up and comers. The Downeast Cyclocross Weekend in Maine brought mud while SpookyCross Weekend in California delivered dry and dusty conditions.
Mud was the word of the day on Saturday's Downeast Cyclocross race in in New Gloucester, Maine for the second weekend of racing in the 2012 Verge New England Pro Cyclocross Series. On redesigned trail sections, racers spent half of their lap in the woods on this foggy autumn day in New England, the remainder of their lap shared between long but muddy power sections along straightaways and challenging off-camber looping turns. But Sunday's sun changed the nature of the course.
Showing that she was on top of her game. Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) not only swept the weekend but did it in a solo fashion and even overcoming an early crash in Sunday's race. Anna Barensfeld (Pedal Power Training) escaped from the chase group to take second on Saturday with Frances Morrison (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) in third. In Sunday's race, Maghalie Rochette (Powerwatts – FT Time) caught on and dropped the chase group to take second while Ellen Noble (Trek Cyclocross Collective) was third. Both Morrison and Noble climbed on their first UCI podium this past weekend.
In the elite men's race, Justin Lindine (Redline), Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria), Dan Timmerman (RGM Watches – Richard Sachs) and Christian Favata (RGM Watches – Richard Sachs) split away from the field early in Saturday's race. The lead group split up in the final laps until Lindine attacked on a long, soupy mud stretch on the final lap to take the win. Timmerman was second and Favata third.
A wild card in Sunday's race stole the show when pro mountain biker Adam Craig (Giant-Rabobank) swept through the field from a back row start to a thirty-second lead on his nearest competitors. He had enough time to do a wheelie as he crossed the finish line. Jeremy Durrin (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria), Justin Lindine (Redline) fought it out for the two remaining spots of the podium with Durrin taking second.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the elite racers faced a different challenge, racing in the dark for Saturday's SpookyCross held in the infield of a racetrack. Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna) chased her way to the lead group and then dropped the hammer to take the win in the elite women's race. Courtenay McFadden (Clif Bar/Bicycle Centres/Voler) was second while Elle Anderson (Ladiesfirst Racing) who was solo off the front for a couple of laps held on for third. The men's race came down to a bike throw and early celebration. Mike Sherer (Optum p/b KBS) threw his bike at the finish line to take the win while Chris Jackson (Castex Racing p/b Felt) was celebrating what he thought was a victory. Under-23 rider Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) took third.
In Sunday's race, Anderson once again went on the attack but this time she waited until the final lap to make her move. She held on for the win while Stetson-Lee was second and McFadden, third. The elite men's race once again came down to a lead group sprinting for the win. Mark McConnell (Synergy Racing) took the win, with Cory Greenberg (Vrc Get Crackin-Ms Society), second and Sherer, third.
The fifth race of the weekend was the GP de la Commune de Contern in Luxembourg, a UCI category race for the elite men only. The victory came down to a two-man sprint taken by Jim Aernouts (Sunweb-Revor) ahead of Jan Denuwelaere (Style & Concept). Aernouts' teammate Tim Merlier was third.